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Dhanam Dhanam

Dhanam Movie Review

Release Date : September 05, 2008
Behindwoods Movie Review Board
Movie review

Starring: Sangeetha, Prakash Raj, Vivek, Prem, Ramesh Khanna, Ilavarasu, M.S.Baskar, Manobala, Mayilsamy, Kota Srinivasa Rao, Ashish Vidyarthi, Girish Karnad, Chitra Lakshmanan, Ashok Rajan

Direction: G.Siva

Music: Ilayaraja

Production: Nandivaram Sampathkumar

The makers of Dhanam have made a brave attempt at handling two contemporary burning social issues, prostitution and superstition. The attempt in itself is worth appreciating. The question is whether the movie has done justice to the scope of the issues being handled, because the subject, especially that of prostitution has been beaten to death by stereotypes in Tamil cinema, barring a few sensitive portrayals.
Sangeetha as Dhanam is a lady who has been forced into the life of a sex worker. However, she does not isolate herself from the society. In fact she helps out people around her with the money that she earns. Fortunes seem to smile upon her as a young man from a good family expresses his desire to marry her. Just as she settles into her new life, fate plays spoil sport and circumstances force her to return to her earlier life. Much else cannot be revealed about the story.

Woven around an interesting premise, what strikes you most about the movie is the hurried nature of events that take place. A few of the turning points in the movie are extremely difficult decisions made by characters who are totally antagonistic to an orthodox community set up. Yet the characters do not seem to experience mental turmoil or careful consideration before arriving at these decisions, which makes it a bit difficult to swallow. For example, a young man from a respected family coming forward to
marry a sex worker has been shown too lightly. Also, the screenplay moves in such a way that there is an element of suspense at the beginning, but that fizzles out towards the end.

The movie tries hard to deliver quite a few messages and does succeed at many points. The acceptance of a sex worker by an orthodox family (headed by Girish Karnad) is one of them. Also, there is Raj Kapoor, as a police officer, whose meaningful dialogues convey a few pertinent points which might get noticed if the movie stands strong at the box office. However, the best message has been delivered by Kota Srinivasa Rao who comes across as an unscrupulous astrologer. He effectively portrays the way in which fraudsters take advantage of the common man’s superstitions.
What one expects most from a movie like Dhanam is strong performances. One wonders why Girish Karnad is not seen more often on the Tamil silver screen, he does his part with aplomb. TV actor Prem has done his bit well, but nothing spectacular. Sangeetha as Dhanam has done a fair job, given the nature of her role. But one feels that she could have been better at many places, especially at the end where her decision does not evoke any reaction (for or against) her character. There have been attempts at comedy lead by M.S. Bhaskar with Karunas providing the rearguard. Needless to say, it looks completely out of place, something the movie could have done without.
Technically, there is nothing much to write home. But one cannot fail to notice the difference in the levels of cinematography in different parts of the movie. Portions shot by the late Jeeva are definitely a notch above his replacement Srinivas Devamsam. Music by Ilaiyaraja seems average by the maestro’s high standards. However, there is one song with a classical touch which is bound to be liked by everyone.

Overall, Dhanam is a movie which does not fulfill the scope of its theme. Also, the subject will be seen by some groups as controversial. This, coupled with a pretty narrow cross section of the audience who will accept such bold themes, stacks the odds against Dhanam.

Verdict – Dhanam- Contemporary issues galore

Dhaam Dhoom
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